CARB ‘explains’ its truck rules

| 6/24/2011

“Whatever starts in California unfortunately has an inclination to spread.”
Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. president.

I read that quote for the first time this week and immediately knew it would be appreciated by our trucking readers.

For decades Land Line has covered the California Air Resources Board, the nation’s single state environmental agency with more power than the EPA. The state has long had power to include special requirements for new engines in trucks and reefers to meet their emissions specifications.

The number and severity of CARB rules has increased rapidly in the last five years, matched only by CARB’s ability to tack on such a lengthy rule amendment process that at times it seems to take four steps forward and nine steps back. Industry stakeholders may spend months or years making CARB aware of their needs and suggestions for a rule, only to see that input wiped out after a different stakeholder convinces CARB staff at a later meeting.

The process is heartbreaking, particularly if you watch webcasted CARB workshops in which CARB staffers appear to listen and work well with stakeholders, who often include in-state truck drivers and small-business trucking families.

Next month, as Land Line reported yesterday, CARB will host an all-day session in which it will explain a multitude of diesel truck rules. It’s a good idea, considering that several of the rules at one time inspired CARB to create online calculators to help truck owners see which equipment they’d need to replace or retrofit.

Unfortunately, it appears this all-day educational session won’t be webcast. So, truckers who happen to be near Los Angeles, and who can afford to burn an entire weekday not making money driving, will benefit.

California was this close to helping the hundreds of thousands of interstate truck drivers who are having difficulty understanding the multitude of diesel regulations either in motion or already enforced.

Let’s hope that as other states with aggressive air quality agencies (New York, Texas) move forward and imitate the Golden State, they’ll make simplicity and accessibility a priority.